President Obama Cites “Covenant Chain”
On November 13, Haudenosaunee leaders, including Tadodaho Sid Hill and Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, joined with hundreds of other native leaders from the four directions for the 5th White House Tribal Nations Conference.
“I know we’ve got members of the Iroquois nation here today,” President Obama remarked. “And I think we could learn from the Iroquois Confederacy, just as our Founding Fathers did when they laid the groundwork for our democracy. The Iroquois called their network of alliances with other tribes and European nations a ‘covenant chain.’ Each link represented a bond of peace and friendship. But that covenant chain didn’t sustain itself. It needed constant care, so that it would stay strong. And that’s what we’re called to do, to keep the covenant between us for this generation and for future generations.”
After the meeting, Tadodaho Sid Hill remarked that while he appreciated President Obama’s acknowledgment of the Covenant Chain, “little seems to change on the ground.” The Tadodaho also noted that most of Obama’s message is addressed to leaders of nations who are dependent on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whereas the Onondaga Nation rejects any relationship not based on treaties.
Native leaders from all 566 federally recognized tribes were invited to this conference where tribal leaders heard from the President, members of his Cabinet and other Senior Administration Officials.
Obama’s full address and video of his speech are available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/13/remarks-president-tribal-nations-conference.